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5 Creative Things to Do with Travel Photos

After a vacation, it’s pretty inevitable that I’ll end up with hundreds of travel snaps on my phone’s camera roll (in addition to the hundreds on my camera’s memory card!), and for a long time, a lot of them would stay there. Now that most of us take a majority of our travel snaps on a smartphone, it seems like less and less of our travel photos actually get printed (or even seen) after vacations end. Last year on the Carnival Breeze, we stopped at four major ports, and I found myself pretty overwhelmed with the amount of photos I came back with. Because each port was so different, I took a lot of photos on my regular camera and on my phone (not to mention the snaps I got while on the actual boat).

From the plane’s landing at Maho Beach in St. Maarten to the peaceful turquoise waters of Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic, I had a lot of digital files to work with. Rather than let these memories stay on the screen and be forgotten, I decided to make it a point to figure out how to make sure that didn’t happen. High-quality prints and framing can get expensive quickly though, and the last thing most people want to do after a vacation is spend hundreds more just on photos.

To combat this, and to get photos off your screen and into your hands quickly and easily, I’ve come up with five ways to creatively integrate your travel photos in your home and life.

Several photos laid out

Go Big (and Bold) With An Engineering Print

While phone snaps can be great, they aren’t always the highest of resolution which means they can look blurry or pixelated if you print them too largely. Lean into the pixelation, and create a large-scale, black and white engineering print. Engineering prints are large, gray scale prints that are more commonly used for engineering or architectural projects (think architectural blueprints, etc.), but they make for amazing, unique photography prints.

Black and white engineering print hanging on a white wall

These prints are inexpensive (I recently purchased a huge engineering print of some palm trees for about $7.00), and can be ordered from most printing companies. Remember, these prints are meant to be in black and white, and are going to appear imperfect and grainy. This is part of the charm! You can easily get one framed or even clip them up with oversized binder clips as pictured for a relaxed look. There are lots of creative ways you can hang these (washi tape, wooden dowels, decorative tacks, etc.) depending on your existing decor, and since they’re so inexpensive, it’s easy to update and swap them as you take new travel snaps.

Large black and white engineering print clipped to a wall

Go Old School with Instant Prints 

Overhead photo of candle, matches and instant prints in little wooden dish

On a recent trip, I brought along my instant camera, and noticed that more and more people around me were doing the same thing. Now, I make it a point to take my instant camera with a few packs of film along with me on all my trips. It’s so great to come back with physical, printed photographs from trips, and they have a fun vintage feel to them. Collect a stack of your favorites, and corral them in a pretty dish or bowl on your coffee table. I rotate mine out periodically, and friends who come over always comment and leaf through them.

Close up of candle, matches and instant prints in wooden dish

Create a Grid of Images 

Grid of images on a wall with books on a table in front and lamp to the side Photo 7 – Close up of grid of images

As we all know, frames, printing large, high-quality prints, and getting custom artwork put together in general can be very expensive. If you’re on a budget, you can still get the large scale impact by creating a grid (or another shape) with your favorite snaps. A little mounting putty or tape (just make sure not to damage your wall paint!), a stack of prints, and a half hour, and you’ve got yourself an easy DIY photo wall. You could easily add to this after each trip, and end up with a wall full of travel snaps.

Framed square photo sitting on bedside table next to a bed

Frame Your Favorite Gram 

Close up of framed square photo

We’re all so used to viewing images in square format these days (thanks, Instagram!). Why not get your favorite Insta shot from your travels printed and framed for your home? It’s a great way to force yourself to really hone in on your favorite, most special shot from your trip, and the square frame is a fun, modern touch.

Overhead photo of postcards

Lots of retailers and printing companies have become savvy to this trend and as result, you can get great square mats and frames for relatively cheap. Several printing companies are now even allowing you to connect your Instagram straight to their order system meaning you can get your photo, printed, framed and sent to your doorstep with about five minutes of effort!

Send a Postcard 

Overhead photo of postcards

It might be a bit old school, but I still love sending postcards to friends and family either during or after a trip. The problem is, most postcards are a bit cheesy looking, and though the sentiment is still there, a lot of people may not want to keep a tacky looking postcard on their fridge for very long.

Several postcards and stamps scattered on a table

Instead of buying postcards, I decided to start getting some of my travel images printed on cards to send to loved ones right after the trip. People still love receiving them, and love that they get a custom photo of my actual trip versus a standard, old school stock image. Lots of printers allow you to get custom postcards made or if you have a good printer at home along with some cardstock, you could even DIY the project! For an extra touch, I love using vintage stamps on these.